Mission Application Photo

Mission Application Photo

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Capes, Castles, Canopy and Conference

This was a special week.  President Heid encouraged us to take a little break and see some of Ghana to the West.  We left Thursday and traveled with our neighbors, the Jones's.  We ended up only about 40 miles from Cote 'd Ivoire.  We had permission from the Africa West Area Presidency to leave our mission boundaries.   It was "out West" where we checked out Capes, Castles and a Canopy of sorts.  The Conference part was back in our Mission on Sunday. We hope you can get a sense of what we encountered.


Cape Coast Castle is where male and female slaves were housed before leaving on slave ships.  The timber trade, discovery of gold and ivory in the region were attractive to foreign nations and eventually "human resources" were required.

Fort Williams on the hill would signal the castle if there were approaching ships or enemies.

One of the cells where slaves were kept.  They received food and water twice a day, but they were in crowded, unsanitary, and horrible conditions.  They often stayed here up to 3 months before being traded.

Supposedly Michelle Obama's great-great grandfather, Jim Robinson, was born into slavery and passed through the Cape Coast Castle on his way to America.

This was a very deep tunnel where the slaves were marched to the ships.

 This was where small boats would ferry the slaves out to the larger ships.

Today, this area east of the castle is a bustling fishing boat launching site and market.

While we waited for our guide to tour some church historical sites at Cape Coast, we watched these men string their nets.

School kids on their way home.


Prior to the LDS Church organizing in Ghana, a minister named Billy Johnson obtained a Book of Mormon and used it for some of his sermons.  This went on for several years as   Billy petitioned the church for literature and membership.  By the time the LDS Church sent missionaries in late 1978, he had a congregation of many people who wanted to be baptized.

This is a picture of the first meetinghouse in Ghana.

Stan and Sister Jones are in front of the original building where the church members met.  It is now another denomination.  Ato is our guide and one of the original LDS members here.

This is how the church looks now.  Ato explained that when he attended church, the roof was in such bad condition that you could see the sky.

Baptisms took place here.  Ato was baptized by Billy Johnson.   To calm the waves, people would form a circle around those being baptized.  

The round circle concrete slab we are standing on, is/was where they used to slaughter sheep!

This is Ato, his wife and one of his seven children.  They are such wonderful and faithful people.

This is one of the church buildings in Cape Coast, a few blocks from the original building. The steeple cannot be on top of the building due to building codes.  It is, therefore, displayed in the parking lot.  (Below)

On our trip we saw three sets of missionaries.  This companionship was preparing to teach a lesson to this young lady on the church grounds.


We drove further west, about 3 hours from Cape Coast, and decided to spend BIG BUCKS and stay one night at this unique beach resort that some other senior missionaries recommended.  We weren't sure what to expect after leaving a very nice paved road, to find this 4 mile "path" was the entrance to the beach resort!!  We were very grateful for 4 wheel drive.  And, we needed it!!

After the muddy road, this was what our truck looked like.  It almost rivals Gilbert's vehicle, our Mission Facility's Manager, who is out in the bush all the time.
 Part of the resort is on a small peninsula.

 This was the reception and restaurant area.

From the restaurant to the peninsula, you walk across sand that is often covered by water from the tide.  Yes, your shoes get wet even if you try to dodge the waves.

 This was our cabin with a private pool overlooking the ocean.

 This was our neighbor's cabin.  

The view was amazing!

 Breakfast was served at our garden patio.

 Even the bathroom door had a peephole to see the ocean!

Exotic orange dessert....like a fruit salad.

 Stan plunged into the Atlantic Ocean.

This fishing village was only a block away from the beach resort.  We don't understand how the laundry stays white with all the dirt!

We stopped at this LDS Church to enjoy the grounds and have lunch.  The beach is across the street from the church.


After the beach resort, we returned back to Cape Coast and toured Kakum National Park. This National Park is still primitive and covers 36000 hectares.  There are leopards, snakes, elephants, birds, toads, etc. in the park but virtually no roads.

Before we headed to the park, we stayed at the Rain Forest Lodge.  It was adequate, but definitely not the luxury we had the night before!  It brought us back to reality.

Canopy Walk in Kakum.  There were 7 suspension bridges high in the trees.

We went on a nature walk and we were glad we had a guide.  We almost felt like we needed a machete to blaze a trail.

Soldier ants that formed a solid line for a long way.  They bite!

Cocoa .  We sampled the coating and it was sweet.  The beans inside are dried before processing.

 Ebony tree
There are 240 elephants in the park.  They like to scratch against the bark.

 Black pepper plant.

Tree has thorns at the base to discourage predators.

 This Onyina tree is at least 500 years old.  It is the largest tree in Central Ghana.

The huge base supports the tree.

We tried to smile by the base of this huge tree.  We were hot and sweaty.  It was only 9am!!


Lush tropical feel!!!

 Wow...bike lanes, no gutters!

 Rebar, shovels, pans, anything you want is at the side of the road.

 Caskets are made by hand.

Bamboo poles holding tv antennas


After our trip to Cape Coast, we slept at our apartment in Accra and drove 2 hours to Koforidua for District Conference.  Stan calls the scenery Jurassic Park!

The building was overflowing.  This is the just the back portion of the building.  There were an equal number of people in the front of the hall.

All the missionaries were gathering before the meeting in the canopy area in courtyard.  We also sat there.  There were no ceiling fans and no breeze.  It was quite warm!

At the meeting President Heid read a letter from church headquarters announcing that due to the growth in the area, the Koforidua Stake would be formed on June 24 and 25.  At that time a Stake President will be called to preside and a Mission President will no longer be responsible.  When President and Sister Heid arrived three years ago, there were three church units.  There are now eleven.


Sister Heid is very happy with the foliage around the mission home.  She planted some Camillas and some small roses.  So far they are surviving!

We had no idea that a cocoa plant was growing around the mission home grounds, until a security guard showed us.

This house....primed with white paint...has been under construction since we have been on our mission.  Progress is slow.  Sister Heid had to sign off with the owner that it was ok for the house being so close to our building.  What do you do when the construction is already well underway? Not sure there is much of a building code here.

Our facility management team wanted to raise our security wall.  You can see how close the two buildings are to each other.  Their wall is on top of our wall!

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